Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pleasures Along the Bikeway

Another gorgeous day, a good friend to spend it with, and a terrific place to walk amid midsummer's burgeoning wildflowers and the fascinating creatures that live among them:  that was my lucky day today. Knowing the limitations my injured leg places on me, my good friend Sue suggested a morning stroll along the paved paths of the Warren County Bikeway, and I was delighted to take her up on that.

The day was warm and sunny, with a sweet cool edge to the breeze that made walking in the sun a great pleasure, especially where our path was lined with a splendid mix of summer flowers.  Here, Joe-Pye Weed, Goldenrod, Spotted Jewelweed, and Virgin's Bower form a thicket along the way.

The aster explosion has just begun, and the Flat-topped Aster is among the earliest of them to bloom.

Under the shade of trailside shrubs, this sprawling Bedstraw looked like tiny stars scattered among the ferns.

Tall stalks of Wild Blue Lettuce towered above the underbrush, and their flowers are so tiny we might have passed them by without a second glance.  But the sunlight picked out this little cluster of wee little blooms that begged for a closer look at their translucent beauty.

The Panicled Dogwood had long ago shed its white flowers, but its clusters of green berries atop vivid pink pedicels were as lovely as any flowers had been.

While examining milkweed leaves in the hope of finding Monarch Butterfly eggs or  larvae, we discovered some other interesting creatures.  We later determined that these fat green caterpillar-like things were actually Syrphid Fly larvae chowing down on the aphids assembled there.

Yes, finding critters is even more fun than finding flowers, especially when we encounter such vivid critters as this bright-yellow Crab Spider perched on a Black-eyed Susan. It stood its ground as we got in close, never retreating but rearing up and raising its front barbed legs as if to grab us the same way it grabs all of its prey.

But the critter find of the day was this little Gray Tree Frog huddling atop a milkweed leaf, its normal gray coloration turned green to attempt some camouflage among the greenery.  That stratagem  (along with my poor eyesight) worked with me, since  I passed it by, assuming that pale green blob was just a milkweed pod.  I never would have seen it, if not for my eagle-eyed friend Sue.  We wondered what might have brought it down to earth from its normal tree-top residence.  Perhaps one of our recent storms blew it down.

After an hour or so of exploring this mid-summer naturalist's paradise, I was ready to rest my knee, so we headed north to Lake George and a wonderful lunch on a restaurant deck that offered this beautiful view.  Life doesn't get much better than this!  Even the food was good, and the parking was free!


Sara Rall said...

Wonderful post, and doesn't that frog look grumpy?

Raining Iguanas said...

I always like the lunch part best.

Woody Meristem said...

Great find of the gray tree frog.